Photography group offers endless benefits

Written by ryan. Posted in Uncategorized


Published on January 11, 2011 with No Comments

by Carl Kurek

It is said that early cave paintings demonstrate the fact man has always wanted to record himself, his activities and the environment around him. Of course thanks to technology, humanity no longer has to rely on paint and rock or even pen and paper to make a work of art; they need only pull a camera out of its case or a cell phone out of their pocket.

While not everyone uses a camera to be artistic, there are individuals who love photography as well as those who want to learn more about it.

And where there is an interest, there is a group.

ìThis group is for people that want to get out and take pictures. The subject matter is up for suggestion and you can use any type of camera you would like. The focus of the meetup is to get creative with photography, and meet some new people. It does not matter if you have never taken a picture before or if you are a seasoned pro, everyone is welcome,î reads the Northwest Indiana Photography Groupís welcome page on

The group was formed in August of 2009 by Alex Gilger of Valparaiso. While Gilger has not been able to be very involved with the group recently, the members he corralled have taken up the reins and continued to meet up and do just what Gilger would want them to do ñ get out and take pictures.

ìItís a very casual thing,î Mike Milligan of Valparaiso said while standing in front of the Valparaiso Courthouse during the groupís most recent shoot this past Saturday.

ìEveryone has their own style and their own eye. Thatís a large part of the fun, seeing where others find art where others missed.î

Milligan, a member of the group since September of 2009, played first time host as he welcomed members of the group to travel to downtown Valparaiso. This locale was one in a series of shoots that explored Northwest Indiana cities and towns.

While there are officially 153 members, Milligan said that as with most net based groups, there are far fewer active members. But the group does cover all bases ñ young and old, amateurs and professionals.

ìMost members are amateurs with varying degrees of experience, including some very talented individuals,î Milligan said. ìWe have a few pros as well sharing their experience.î

Despite the blizzard-like conditions that began just prior to when the group was set to meet, about a dozen members turned out. Most agreed their attendance proved their devotion to the hobby as well as their likeness to one another.

ìWho else would be coming out in this weather besides people like you,î Sandra Marek of Calumet Township said, to which her fellow members agreed.

Marek also pointed out that many people, herself included, feel less awkward walking around taking photographs when there is a group of individuals with them doing the same thing.

Mary Ann had been a member of the group for less than a week prior to traveling from DeMotte ñ while it was still sunny out ñ to join her fellow group members who she hopes will teach her a thing or two about photography and her camera.

ìIíve had it for about six years and thought itís finally time to get serious,î she said.

Dennis Poliseno and Carl Swisher, two of the groupís more experienced members, also bundled up and came out amid the wintry weather to get their share of snow-filled photographs.

Both Poliseno and Swisher, who together have over 70 years of photography experience under their belts, admitted they were surprised to find a group like the Northwest Indiana Photography Group. But they are the epitome of what the group stands for.

ìI always get up on my day off and just go take pictures,î Poliseno, a Valparaiso resident, said. ìPeople share ideas, different styles, tricks for doing things. You can always learn.î

Likewise, Swisher said that while he has been a part of a few different photography groups, not many get out and do things like the Northwest Indiana group does. And the benefits of that are endless.

ìThe guy who taught me (photography) 40 years ago told me, ëThe only way youíre going to learn is if you go out and shoot,íî the Chesterton resident recalled. ìThere are rules, but rules can be broken.î

There is no set schedule for shoots, but Milligan said there is usually something going on once a month and when the weather is more ideal, weekly shoots are often the norm.

Members discuss possible locations for shoots on the open forum on their Meetup page, and the final decision typically depends on how much interest a suggested shoot draws.

There are no requirements or fees to join, and membership is open to anyone with any camera. For more information on the group, to find out when their next outing is or to view photographs taken by members, visit

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